The Best Mirrorless Cameras Under $1000 in 2020

The choice and purchase of a new camera may be a bit of a headache, just because of the sheer abundance of them on the market. Mirrorless cameras are the most popular choice, but lots of people are afraid that they provide quality that isn't as perfect as in DSLR (or mirrored cameras). But with the modern technology level, even a cheap mirrorless camera can be on par with the medium segment DSLR one. But what exactly is a mirrorless camera?

In such a camera, light passes directly through the lens and gets to the image sensor without being reflected. Actually, its operation principle is similar to the camera on your smartphone. While this approach is less "classical," only a few experts can easily differentiate the images made by DSLR and the best budget mirrorless camera. Mirrorless cameras are also usually smaller and lighter; they are also more durable (but be careful with the lenses still!), so the best mirrorless camera for travel will not make your backpack any heavier. They still have some drawbacks, such as slower autofocus speed or shorter battery life, but if you don't need to get too professional, even a cheap mirrorless camera will fulfill all your needs and will be a great help in making stunning videos and award-winning and like-gathering pictures.

In this article, we gathered a few of the mirrorless camera reviews to compete for the name of the best mirrorless camera under 1000 dollars. Sometimes it's even the best mirrorless camera under 500 dollars (yes, they are that cheap for the professional equipment and still very cool!). Feel free to use these reviews as an aid for your choice! Lots of world-renowned manufacturers offer mirrorless options for their products, allowing you to get the best quality for a quite modest price. So, let's see what they have to offer you!

1. Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera

Pros

Cons

Sony Alpha a7II

• Carl Zeiss lens

• 24,7 megapixels

• automatic white balance

• works not so well in artificial light

• there are lighter cameras

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The first competitor for the honorable title of the best mirrorless camera under 1000 dollars is this wonderful Sony product. 24,7 Mpix and a decent 6000 x 4000 resolution make it one of our favorites. Even with the kit lens, it provides you the best quality image that can be on par with the DSLR one. A powerful mechanism of image stabilization eliminates the "shaky hands effect," giving you incredibly sharp and precise images despite the camera's small weight (only 566 grams, that is!).

Alpha a7II has a smooth design that perfectly lies in your hands and will come in handy (literally) when you need to film something on the move and single-handedly. The non-slippery texture with ridges and the big shutter button that is impossible to miss with your thumb will help you a lot with that. The state-of-the-art sensor with AF system that is totally sealed from dust and moisture (thus isn't waterproof still, so don't try to dive with your Sony camera without proper insulation) makes it wear-resistant and allows you to use your camera for a long, long time, letting it payback each dollar spent on it.

Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera

Photo by @_beyourself.photography

The extra features of Alpha a7II include auto-focus, automatic white balance, several filming modes: literally, everything you might have gotten used to with your smartphone, but better. One Carl Zeiss 70mm kit lens better, actually. This compact Sony mirrorless camera will be a great option for travel lovers (especially considering the awesome results it produces under the natural light!).

2. Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Pros

Cons

sony-alpha-6500

• can be operated with one hand

• lots of additional features

• ergonomic body

• plastic body details

• not so big memory

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Another candidate from Sony is the a6500 model. It looks almost similar, having 25 Mpix, the same 6000x4000 resolution, and the same stabilization system. It offers a wide range of options for any modern demands: from vlogging and streaming to art photography. The camera is extremely lightweight due to plastic non-critical details (but a high-quality one). The weight of Alpha a6500 is a stunning 453 gram adding yet another reason to include it into the list of the best mirrorless cameras under 1000 dollars. The silhouette of the camera is ergonomic and curvy, making it easier to grip and hold. Some extra features, such as flash and mode change wheel, are one touch away and can be managed with one hand only.

The display is remarkably large for such a small camera: 3 inches of the high-quality matrix allows you to perceive exactly what you are going to film. The screen is excellent at showing just the right colors, but the high quality doesn't compromise its durability. You may use it as a touchscreen and not be afraid to scratch it due to the mild wear-resistance. Another notable feature of Alpha a6500 is its memory. It can store up to 200 JPEG files or 107 RAW files (which are much bigger, possibly the biggest format available for picture taking) and can be enhanced to store even more with the right memory card.

Sony Alpha a6500

Photo by @franciscobuduba

The performance of Alpha a6500 is very decent for such a small camera. Auto-focus and the multi-zone metering system do the most of the routine job, leaving you only the pleasant part. There are a dozen preset white balance modes that allow you to instantly change one according to the light and surroundings, without frankly searching for a sheet of paper. Alpha a6500 is great for taking it with you anywhere you can travel.

3. Canon EOS RP Mirrorless Camera

Pros

Cons

canon-eos

• 27.1 Mpx

• one of the cheapest on the market

• headphone and microphone jacks

• may need a grip extender

• some buttons might be better

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The megapixels are adding! This example of the best mirrorless camera under 1000 dollars candidate has 27.1 Mpx and a slightly bigger resolution 6240x4160. It has already become one of the iconic models of Canon company and is extremely easy to use even for beginners. The main menu is intuitive, and there are no extra buttons to press the wrong one. The grip extender that can be added to the already comfortable camera will help the users to hold it even more confidently.

The body of the camera is made of light but very durable polycarbonate that will withstand all the adventures you take it to. The moisture and dust protection will protect the kit lens and save you a lot of extra money. An optional grip extender can be used for extra comfort or holding the camera in extreme conditions. The price of all these extra features is very low - Canon EOS RP is one of the cheapest on the market.

Canon EOS RP

Photo by @mauribardi

This camera is an all-in-one streaming station with a microphone and headphone jacks and a USB port. You can make a great video just after taking your camera out of the box. The stunning colors and contrast will make that video a masterpiece almost instantly. The sharp contours of the items and the noise eliminating algorithm allow you to get an unprecedented quality for such a small camera with a modest price.

4. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Pros

Cons

olympus-om-d

• dust, water, and windproof

• transformable with extra lenses and devices

• lots of useful preset modes

• controls could be better

• works not so well under artificial light

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The modest 17.2 Mpx and 400 gram make this Olympus camera a perfect pal for travel, be it a long adventure or a short hike. The decent resolution (4608x3456) and good stabilization allow the owners to take breathtaking pictures in any position, especially on the move. While OM-D E-M5 can't substitute a full-fledged action camera and can't be fastened on you, it has a great grip and withstands the assault of dust, water, and winter, up to -10 degrees Celsius. Skiing, skating, sea cruise - this little camera will be extremely useful everywhere! The kit lens is good enough to use without buying a whole lens ecosystem, so this camera is the perfect variant for those who want a no-sweat device.

The camera is still highly customizable, though it isn't necessary. Various grip extenders, lenses, and removable features can transform OM-D from an almost pocket edition to a highly professional instrument suitable for stage photoshoots and art photography. All that extra stuff, together with not the best controls ergonomic in the world, may need a bit of time to adjust to, but still, after you get used to this camera, it becomes your best friend for a long time (and, we mean long, the magnesium body may look fragile, but it can survive even the most hardcore adventures and heavy-duty usage).

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Photo by @outdoorcapture

Olympus OM-D has lots of preset modes that allow you to quickly switch from one to another if you are somewhere outside and need to work fast. It also works exceptionally well with moving objects, delivering sharp edges and contrasting colors, especially under the bright natural light. It may need some enhancement to perform equally well in twilight or with artificial lights, but if you choose the right mode and the right goal you want to reach with your photos, you won't change OM-D to anything else.

5. Fujifilm X-T30 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Pros

Cons

Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera

• classical design

• the lightest and smallest on the list

• allows mounting even long and heavy lenses

• no image stabilization

• the LCD screen could be better

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Fujifilm X-T30 boasts a nice 26,1 megapixels figure. Its resolution may reach 6240x4160, and with its 383 grams of weight, you can easily forget that you are holding something in your hand. Unfortunately, such a small size comes with a price: X-T30 has no image stabilization, so you'd better train your steady hand or think about an extra stabilization device. Still, it is one of the most popular models of Fujifilm company, and we are not talking about advertisement; that's what the people choose. Its features, combined with a great price, make it the best mirrorless camera for under 1000 dollars for beginners or for the people who just want to take photos without lots of technical details.

The design of the camera reminds of its DSLR counterparts and is very classical in appearance. The three dials on the top are made to change modes - and there are plenty of them! The creators thought about comfort, too; a very ergonomic grip allows you to mount a heavy lens on the camera and still feel it balanced and not get the wrist to ache from the center of weight set improperly. The combination of different control types: joystick and buttons, saves space for your hand and allows you to quickly understand which function is where without even looking at your camera. The camera, as small as it is, has a high-quality finder that may not be the perfect example of LCD screens but gives you a great impression of what you are going to shoot.

Fujifilm X-T30

Photo by @leejaekug_

As we can expect for such a small camera X-T20 is created for working on the move. Its ability to shoot 8 frames per second allows you to capture the most dynamic pictures or choose the best one from the micro-series. The pictures are taken in RAW or JPEG formats and can be captured in the camera in the quantity of 147. Not the best news for those who don't clear their cameras regularly, but more than enough for a single ride, hike, or any other activity.

6. Panasonic Lumix GH4 Body 4K Mirrorless Camera

Pros

Cons

Panasonic Lumix GH4 Body 4K

• excellent for 4K video

• customizable buttons

• great exposure

• quite heavy

• no image stabilization

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Lumix GH4 Body 4K is exactly what is said on the tin: a 4K camera. Though it has not the largest number of megapixels, 17.2 only, its resolution still can compete with the rest of the best mirrorless cameras under 1000 dollars chart: 4608x3456. Like the previous one in the list, this camera also doesn't have an image stabilization mechanism and may require some extra items to be used for professional filming. It might look a bit odd because the weight of the camera is more than half of a kilogram: 516 grams. We wonder why didn't the creators squeeze at least some stabilization mechanism into it. Still, the sheer weight of our camera makes it less prone to shaking and is somewhat compensating for that.

Lumix GH4 is very similar to its predecessor in terms of size, weight, and ergonomic, but there are some crucial features that differ this model from the previous ones in the series. Among them are Timelapse shots in the Drive mode that can start instantly or in the range of 99 minutes. The new body may look the same, but it has an extra layer of protection from dust, scratches, and occasional splashes. The enhanced LCD screen is also protected from wear and tear and allows you to see what you are shooting clearly and with great contrast.

Panasonic Lumix GH4 Body 4K

Photo by @elizabethstreeterphoto

One of the greatest features of this camera is the whole array of five customizable buttons you may use as you please, adjusting them to your personal style of photography. The only non-customizable control element is a back switch used for selecting the camera's main functions and changing the settings manually. But even the preset modes allow you to create highly natural pictures with breathtaking colors and stunning exposure. The camera operates as deep as -4EV, which is pretty much for a mirrorless device.

And, of course, there is also a 4K video option that gave the camera the name. It is one of the iconic features, and we can say that the camera is truly made for video making. While the photography quality can be compared with most of the other cameras in this list, the video quality and comfort of making it is truly outstanding. So it is pretty much the best choice for vloggers or videographers who want a faithful and professional instrument for their activities.

The cameras mentioned in the list are truly the best of the best, sharing lots of features such as similar max resolution, preset modes, and small size. They can be divided into three major categories: the cameras that are the best for filming activities and motion, the ones that are most suitable for making videos, and the ones that are, actually, for making professional photographs. And, of course, the main feature of all these cameras is the low price. They all are affordable options for beginners and those who don't want to spend too much on photography instruments, relying more on their taste and skills than on the automated camera functions.

Surely, the new models in the lines will appear every once in a while, so this guide is only an example of what is considered an inexpensive but high-quality device. Feel free to use it as you want to, either directly choosing from the list or using the parameters of the cameras as a guide to finding something for yourself. Moreover, these cameras will get cheaper with time, so, who knows, maybe, next year we'll rename this article "The best mirrorless cameras for less than 500"?

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